Whether it's a knockout or he's knocked out, Victor Ortiz is must-see TV

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Whether it's a knockout or he's knocked out, Victor Ortiz is must-see TV
Whether it's a knockout or he's knocked out, Victor Ortiz is must-see TV

Victor Ortiz may never be what we want him to be, what we think he should be. He's never going to be the solid, consistent, smart, veteran boxer who minimizes mistakes and maximizes his massive punching power.

He's quirky and kind of goofy in a fun sort of way, the guy who makes you crack up laughing at just the wrong time.

Many fighters get into side businesses to take advantage of their notoriety and supplement their incomes, but few get into the cologne and perfume market. But Ortiz's fragrance line, VO by Victor Ortiz, a cologne for men, is now available from Amazon and other online retailers.

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Frequently, he doesn't make the best decisions in the ring – Remember when he head-butted Floyd Mayweather Jr.? – and his judgment often winds up hurting him.

For all his faults, though, Ortiz is the kind of fighter who makes boxing such a great sport. He's an expect-the-unexpected kind of guy, and you wind up talking about his fights days, weeks, and in some cases, years later.

He's been in literal knockdown, drag-out battles with Marcos Maidana and Andre Berto. He's the guy who kissed Mayweather a few seconds after fouling him and got knocked out when he couldn't stop trying to apologize.

Ortiz will return to fight Thursday for the first time after nearly 20 months on the sidelines, following a bout in which he was ripped for quitting when he'd actually broken his jaw.

He'll meet Luis Collazo at the Barclay's Center in New York on Fox Sports 1 in what figures to be an intriguing 10-round fight.

Since he broke his jaw during a June 23, 2012, bout with Josesito Lopez in Los Angeles, Ortiz has appeared on "Dancing with the Stars" and had a role in the movie "The Expendables 3," where he trained during his down time with UFC women's bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey.

He's back, but in typical Ortiz fashion, he adds an element of intrigue to his return. He was asked during a conference call an innocuous question about whether he missed boxing during his absence.

A majority of fighters would have spewed a cliché, talking about how they missed the sport and they're thrilled to be back.

That's not how Ortiz operates, though. He gave a decidedly different type of answer.

"It disgusted me to watch boxing, because a lot of these top contenders or top fighters that are there, they're only there by mistake," Ortiz said. "So, I couldn't bear to watch fighters that I know I can beat time and time again, so I tried to stay away from watching it, and now I'm back and I'm all in."

He may be wrong in terms of being able to beat those top contenders time and time again, but he deserves plenty of points for honesty.

If Ortiz had gone according to script, though, he might be at or near the top of the rankings.

He's very athletic, has good timing with his shots and is a vicious puncher. By working behind his jab, slowly trying to create openings, he'd be able to minimize the risk to himself and take advantage of the pop in his hands.

Instead, Ortiz can easily be lured into brawls in which he winds up leaving his chin exposed. That's not a good idea when you're in with the likes of Maidana, who is among the hardest hitters in boxing.

Ortiz is 26 and just entering his athletic prime, but it's unlikely he's going to change. He's a thrill seeker, a guy who seems to be most motivated when the crowd is at its loudest.

Ortiz doesn't necessarily agree, though, with the perception of him.

"The media have their perception [and] I have mine," Ortiz said. "They have their comments and concerns. I have mine. At the end of the day, it comes down to me."

Indeed it does. He's always fun to watch, so as long as he's motivated to continue to fight, he'll be on television. He makes for entertaining fights and nothing is better for someone programming boxing on TV than a guy who will score a few knockdowns and get knocked down himself most times out.

He might work his way right back to the top, and it would surprise no one, because he's long had championship skills.

But he could just as easily become another gatekeeper, a guy whose eagerness to brawl makes him a fan favorite but prevents him from becoming a champion.

Either way, it doesn't matter from a fan's point of view. When Victor Ortiz is fighting, the answer is simple: Turn on the TV and remember to program the DVR, because his fights are often the type you want to see again and again and again.

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